Tag Archives: drug addiction

sharing addiction story, breaking anonymity

Breaking Anonymity and Sharing Your Addiction Story

Breaking Anonymity and Sharing Your Addiction Story

When life’s circumstances don’t go as we originally intended, it’s easy to feel guilty about choices we’ve made leading us to where we are today. Many people who file for divorce, declare bankruptcy, or have a substance abuse issues blame themselves for their problems. Harboring that guilt and embarrassment may make sharing your addiction story very difficult.

Very few worthwhile endeavors are also easy, and that includes telling others about your battle through addiction. Just remember that you are not the only person who has been down this road. Some twenty million Americans are addicted to a non-tobacco substance, and only about 10 percent of them seek treatment for their illness. If your story inspires one of these people to make the call, sharing your addiction story was more than worth it.

Talking about abuse is important to recovering addicts as well. Statistics vary widely, but there is no doubt that serious relapse is a problem. Once again, if your story keeps just one person in recovery, you should tell it.

Some Reasons Sharing Your Addiction Story is Important

Your recovery story is not just about a personal journey. Elements of your long, hard journey resonate with many other people in the recovery community. Understanding these facts makes it easier to overcome guilt, embarrassment, or whatever else is holding you back. If you need some specific reasons, here are just a few:

Making it Real

Your recovery story is not really a story until you share it with others. Once you open up and share it, the whole experience becomes more real to you and to them.

Organizing Your Thoughts

Funeral eulogies are not just for broadcasting nice things about the departed. Many people have multiple and confusing feelings about their lost friends and loved ones whom they lost to addiction. Only preparing and telling the story helps them make sense of everything.

Making a Contribution

These shared experiences help us find strength in times of great need. When you share your story, you are creating an atmosphere where others feel comfortable to tell theirs as well.

Strengthening Your Resolve

Sharing your story gives you more of a stake in your recovery. If we know people are watching, we tend to watch our steps a bit more closely. Furthermore, as mentioned, your story could well be the catalyst which drives someone to seek help.

Note that some of these reasons are about other people, and some of them are about you. Your story has the power to impact more people than just yourself.

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How to Share Your Addiction Story

For some people, speaking or writing in front of an audience is second nature. But for many others, such actions may be harder than rehab. Desert Cove Recovery staff is here to help you share your story.

Many people start with anonymous online comments on addiction-related blogs or news stories. Or perhaps, you can start by liking recovery stories online. By using social media, sharing your addiction story can be safe and anonymous. Such comments have a cathartic effect for you, and they may have an inspiring effect on others.

Posting a comment or blog on our Facebook page may be the next step. People who are interested in addiction and recovery issues will see the post. It is like preaching to the choir. These public comments in a non-threatening environment are a good way to not only help yourself and inspire others, but also help build community.

When you are ready, post on your own blog site, Facebook page, or other social media account. People outside the addiction/recovery community will hear what you have to say. There may be some negative feedback, because people are not always empathetic. But such posts enable you to connect with your circle of friends in a very meaningful way. And truthfully, some people post negative comments on anything they see! Try not to focus on the naysayers, and instead remember what you have accomplished by beginning your recovery.

If you need help finding your voice or getting the words right, reach out to us or find fellow recovering people in recovery for help. Remember, you are not the only one who has problems in this area.

Finally, consider an informal speaking engagement at a local support group. Sometimes, that just means speaking up when you have the chance. Other times, that could mean being a guest speaker for a group. These things can be very intimidating for many people, but you have already come this far. Taking this next step will complete this part of your recovery.

Recovery is not easy and is not limited to your activities at a treatment facility. Recovery is hard and requires lifelong effort. For both yourself and for others, recovery should include sharing your addiction story. If you are struggling with any aspect of a substance abuse problem, you can always count on Desert Cove Recovery for help.

suicide and opioid addiction dual diagnosis treatment centers

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Important note: This article addresses suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A disproportionately large number of U.S. residents have committed suicide while using an opioid. By definition, we are witnessing an epidemic. Dual diagnosis treatment centers are seeing an increase in patients as they themselves effort to understand the connection between suicide and opioid addiction. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released alarming numbers during the spring of 2018. Their study determined almost 45,000 Americans committed suicide in 2016 alone and discovered an increase of suicide every year since 1999.

The U.S. Surgeon General has advised more Americans use opioids than smoke cigarettes. Considering the U.S. purchases 80% of the world’s opioid medications and prescriptions have increased 300 percent in a nine-year time frame, this makes sense.

Together, it appears opioids and an increasing suicide rate may indeed be linked.

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suicide and opioid addiction linked dual diagnosis treatment centers

An Increasing Suicide Rate

The relationship between suicide and substance abuse is a complicated one. While suicide is closely correlated with depression, use of either legal or illicit drugs increases the risk substantially. A 2013 study by the CDC revealed which types of substances were found in those who committed suicide. The leading six substances were:

  • Alcohol – 38.2%
  • Antidepressants – 35.3%
  • Benzodiazepines – 31.3%
  • Opiates – 26.8%
  • Marijuana – 16.6%
  • Anticonvulsants – 11.9%

Use of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common risk factors for suicide. However, substance use is only one half of the equation.

In isolation, it would easy to pin a large portion of suicides strictly on substance abuse. But unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In most suicides, substance abuse is the cause or the result of one or more contributing conditions.

The CDC completed a study reviewing the mental reports of both medical examiners and law enforcement officials from 27 states in 2015. They acknowledged there may have been other circumstances involved in any single suicide report, but the result sheds light on the types of problems individuals may have been facing prior to their passing:

  • 42% reported relationship problems
  • 29% faced a crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks
  • 22% had physical health problems
  • 16% were confronting job or financial related issues
  • 9% tackled criminal legal problems
  • 4% lost their housing

The study showed that just over one-quarter (28%) of suicides had reported known problematic substance abuse. Understanding the relationship between the CDC’s statistics of the substances found in the bloodstream with the contributing factors is important. The connection underscores the role substance abuse plays in scenarios where the abuse was not a determining factor in the suicide.

The Exploding Use of Opioids

During the late-1990s, prescription opioid pain relievers were introduced to the general public in mass. It was promised these drugs would not be addictive or habit forming. The pharmaceutical companies were wrong.

The rate of opioid overdose has risen ever since opioids arrived at the corner pharmacy. In 2015, the CDC reported 33,000 deaths directly resulting from an opioid overdose. This includes prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone, illegally manufactured synthetics, and heroin.

Almost 225 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2015. The CDC study from the same year found approximately 2 million Americans were suffering from prescription opioid substance abuse disorders. The statistics of opioid misuse are staggering:

  • 21% – 29% of prescriptions for chronic pain are misused
  • 8% – 12% of prescribed opioid patients develop an opioid use disorder
  • 4% – 6% of those who misuse opioid prescriptions move onto heroin

Although the sheer number of annual opioid prescriptions has begun to decline, their misuse continues to increase. And as the number of prescriptions decreased, we may begin to see increased heroin and illicit opioid use in the coming years. Consider the following growth in opioid overdoses:

  • 54% increase in large cities in 16 states
  • 70% increase in the Midwest 2016 to 2017
  • 30% increase in 52 surveyed regions in the U.S.

We are in the midst of a public health crisis. The consequences of which are being felt by individuals, families, employers, and entire communities. Finding the link between suicide and opioid addiction will go a long way toward solving this immense problem.

Connecting Suicide and Opioid Addiction

Overdoses, caused by any substance, can often be difficult to evaluate. Was the overdose accidental or were the drugs consumed with a purpose – suicide?

What we do know are the increases in suicide risk associated with an opioid misuse. For men, the suicide risk nearly doubles if they were known to have an opioid use disorder. For women, there has been found to be an eightfold increase in the risk of suicide. Yet in most cases, the final factor causing an overdose is never known.

Opioid addiction is extremely powerful. The fact that 80% of first-time heroin users were misusing prescription opioids first supports this claim. And regardless of how many of the 115 daily opioid overdoses are attributed to suicide, any number larger than zero is too many.

The likelihood of suicidal thoughts can increase upwards of 60% when while taking an opioid. There are studies indicating death by suicide is 13 times more likely in opioid and injection drug users. More evidence that combating opioid addiction’s role in the nation’s suicide crisis cannot be overlooked

The Role of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Admittance into rehabilitation centers increased 400% in the decade prior to 2010. As more research is conducted and more is learned about the relationship between suicide and substance abuse, the greater positive impact dual diagnosis treatment centers will have on their patients.

Dual diagnosis takes a coordinated approach to mental health disorders and substance abuse. By using a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, patients with co-occurring disorders are much more likely to find long-term success after receiving treatment. Traditional treatment centers are becoming much better at identifying individuals who are suffering from two or more conditions. And if dual diagnosis treatment isn’t available, such facilities are fortunately opening on a regular basis.

After completing programs offered at dual diagnosis treatment centers, individuals will effectively be able to manage both disorders. If you suspect someone you care about may be struggling with suicide and opioid addiction, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing and help is no further than a phone call away.

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

The process of drug and alcohol addiction can be challenging for some people. When residents are at a rehab center in Arizona, they have the encouragement and support that is needed to be successful when they go home. There are classes offered at rehabs in Arizona as well as group and individual counseling sessions. However, finding a rehab that offers exercise as part of addiction treatment can be beneficial for many people who are dealing with addiction.

For many people, playing outside or walking on a trail is considered a form of recreation. For someone who is fighting addiction, it can be therapeutic. Exercise as part of addiction treatment allows for getting the mind healthy by focusing on activities that don’t involve drugs while talking to other people who are participating. Taking the time to get the body healthy, in at least a minimal way, can help to reverse any damage done by drugs and alcohol.

Here are some of the benefits that can be seen when exercise is offered as a part of addiction treatment:

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment Decreases Stress

A primary benefit of exercise as part of addiction treatment is stress reduction. When people rely on drugs and alcohol to relieve the stresses that they have in life, it can be difficult to take part in other activities that offer the same feelings.

Various forms of exercise increase the heart rate, relieving stress that is felt in the body for many residents in rehabs in Arizona. They can channel the stress that they have about issues with relationships and past situations in a manner that is often fun and refreshing.

exercise in addiction treatment

Exercise Helps Reduce Sleep Issues

Sometimes, people who have used drugs and alcohol for long periods of time tend to stay awake because of the high that they get from the substances. Exercise is a natural way to tire the body. Paired with planned activities at the rehab center as well as daily chores, exercise can often help residents who have had problems with sleeping in the past.

Once they begin to get a normal sleep schedule again, they can begin to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at the same time the next day. This will help the body adjust to being functional in a healthy way once again.

More Energy from Exercise in Rehab

After exercising for a few weeks, residents at rehab centers can begin to see an increase in energy levels in the body. This increase in energy in a natural way instead of using drugs and alcohol can allow residents to focus on therapy sessions, classes that are taken, seeking employment, and interacting with the other people who are at the rehab center.

Exercise boosts the oxygen levels in the blood, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain and the other vital organs. As more oxygen circulates in the body and fewer drugs are introduced to the body, the person will be able to stay awake longer during the day and channel the energy that is built to positive tasks instead of those that are negative.

Mood Changes from Exercise

When there are no drugs in someone’s body, it can sometimes impact the mood that the person has during the day. There can be times of anger or sadness while the person is recovering in rehab. Exercise can help to stabilize the mood and even enhance the mood as the person begins to see the benefits of this kind of therapy.

While exercising, endorphins are released in the body. These chemicals are responsible for feelings of happiness. As the person continues to exercise by walking, running, playing sports, or simply spending time outside doing something that involves movement, the endorphins will continue to be released. It usually doesn’t take long for endorphins to be released in the body, which means that residents in a rehab center can spend about 30 minutes a day exercising and have the rest of the day for other activities or resting and spending time alone.

Get Healthy While in Rehab

When the body has more oxygen delivered to its vital organs, the body becomes healthier. The only way that this can happen is through exercise of some kind. People who are in rehab can take a daily walk or participate in an exercise class to begin seeing health benefits that are provided by some kind of activity each day.

After weeks of exercising, people can usually begin to see a decrease in weight and begin to breathe easier. Regular exercise also helps in the prevention of heart disease, the risk of a stroke, and depression. It can also keep the bones and joints healthy.

While exercise is known to be an important part of a healthy life, for those trying to overcome addiction, it can be even more important. If you are ready to make a change in your life, and begin your journey in recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

trauma and addiction treatment in arizona, trauma therapy addiction treatment

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Many times, those who love someone dealing with issues related to addiction think that if only they could rid them of the drugs or alcohol that they take, everything else would work itself out. However, this is generally too simplistic a view as, in many cases, it’s not really the drugs and alcohol that are the problem.

Instead, they can be part of the solution. By trying to help the person find the means to cope with a traumatic time they may have experienced in his or her past could make the difference.  This could possibly date back to childhood, or maybe instead something much more recent. Of course, there are other coping mechanisms that are much more positive than substance abuse, but some do turn to drugs or alcohol to help them get over their trauma.

Clearly, this is not the right move to make, but it happens, and it is especially important to get trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona if this is the cause. The connection between recovering from the trauma and using this treatment method can be an especially strong one as the person suffering from the trauma may feel like there are no other coping methods that would work as well. This can often be the case even when it has become clear that addiction has resulted from the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

In order for someone to be successful in recovery, they must treat the root of the problem – the trauma. Trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona must be combined with trauma therapy and addiction treatment so that both the original problem and the incorrectly chosen solution can be addressed. This allows the individual to recover from both hardships that have been experienced. It is not going to be easy in either case, but it is what needs to be done in order for the solutions to be long-lasting.

It’s important for both those seeking treatment, and people who love them, to know that types of trauma can vary quite a bit. One type of episode might deeply affect somebody, while the exact same type could result in little to no trauma for another. It is important to hear from the addict how certain situations affect them and to help them learn healthy ways to cope amidst these feelings. Some examples of types of trauma that can cause people to turn to drugs or alcohol for numbing include abuse, neglect, illness, accident, violence, bullying, military-related trauma and separation from loved ones.

Some of the most damaging things that some do to those who have suffered trauma is to dismiss it by saying things like, “Why are you letting that bother you?”, “I experienced the same thing”, and “I’m fine.”

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How to Treat Trauma Related Addiction

Trauma therapy addiction treatment includes, most importantly, determining other ways to cope with the feelings of trauma in a healthy manner instead of turning to the damaging habits of drugs or alcohol. Some of the things that this involves include the realization that recovery is a process and that it will not be overnight. Although it may seem like it should just involve flipping a switch to some, it really is not like that. Progress can absolutely be made, but it will be a gradual process, little by little.

But what makes it more difficult in this situation is that recovering from trauma combined with recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol exacerbates things. Removing the drug or alcohol just on its own is often a trying situation because of the detox necessary to rid the body of the addiction. However, what needs to be handled with care is the simultaneous removal of the trauma coping mechanism. A new one must be found and encouraged so that old habits aren’t easy to return to once rehab has been completed.

When Dual Diagnosis is Present

Sometimes adding to the difficulty of a healthy detox are co-occurring mental health issues that accompany the addiction and trauma. In this case, the addiction may be the result of one or the other or both, and sensitive care must be given to help those in recovery.

Our staff is trained to handle all of these types of situations and ensure that treatment is given in an all-encompassing manner that helps the individuals recover from every aspect of their troubles and start regaining control of their lives again. The treatment will be individualized to the person and his or her situation.

One of the treatment methods that is often used is the inclusion of a peer-supportive environment. It tends to be easier for people to recover mentally from their addictions and traumatic experiences if they are able to regularly speak to those who are experiencing and have experienced similar things. Being able to share experiences and learn from what others are experiencing can really help the recovery process.

If you or a loved one could benefit from these services, contact us today for more information.

accredited addiction treatment AZ

Accredited Addiction Treatment ARizona

Accredited Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Seeking treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a big step. In light of this, it is important to take the time to identify a treatment center that will address your specific needs.

Since your primary goal is to free yourself from your addiction, it’s crucial to choose a rehab that relies on proven, evidence-based practices and has patients’ best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can just take a facility’s word for; there is too much at stake for that. By sticking with facilities that offer accredited addiction treatment in Arizona, however, it will be much easier to identify one that will arm you with the tools for long-term success.

What is Accreditation All About?

It is easy enough for a drug rehab facility to state that it uses proven methodologies and is otherwise above board regarding addiction treatment. As the saying goes, however, actions speak louder than words. Since your health and life are at stake here, this isn’t the time to give a place a shot and hope for the best. Instead, insist on undergoing treatment at a facility that holds relevant accreditation from authoritative accreditation bodies. Read on to learn more about how to find them.

Why Does Accreditation Matter in Addiction Treatment?

Like anyone who is ready to reclaim a sober life, you’re probably already planning to do your homework before choosing an addiction treatment center. However, you are a novice when it comes to addiction treatment, so you can’t be expected to know what to look for. Accreditation matters because when a facility is accredited, it has proven to an independent organization that it meets or exceeds a rigorous list of standards. Think of this independent organization, or accreditation body, as detectives who do the heavy lifting for patients like you. If a facility has the “all clear” from a respected accreditation body, you can rest assured about the quality of care that you will receive.

Who Offers Accreditation for Addiction Treatment Facilities?

Learning that a treatment center is accredited is a step in the right direction, but it’s also important to confirm that the accreditation comes from a respected and reputable organization. Many accreditation bodies offer accreditation to addiction treatment centers; without a doubt, The Joint Commission is the best known of them all. Formerly known as JCAHO, The Joint Commission provides accreditation to facilities that meet an exhaustive list of stringent quality standards.

Another name to look for when seeking accredited addiction treatment is CARF—The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. This organization has been accrediting health care facilities since 1966. They offer various levels of accreditation, but the three-year one is the gold standard. Other accreditation bodies include the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the All States.

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The Accreditation Process for Addiction Treatment Centers

It’s important to know what is involved in acquiring an accreditation from an organization like The joint Commission because it drives home just how stringent their standards tend to be. To receive an accreditation from The Joint Commission, for example, a facility must demonstrate that it meets all of the organization’s accreditation conditions and that it is committed to continual improvement. An intensive on-site survey is performed to confirm that a facility meets these standards. The organization is typically given time to make corrections before a follow-up survey is completed.

To maintain its accreditation, an addiction treatment center must submit an annual Quality Improvement Plan along with an annual Conformance to Quality Report to the accreditation body.

Benefits of Choosing an Accredited Addiction Treatment Center

Some of the top advantages of choosing an accredited facility for addiction treatment include:

  • outcome- and evidence-based treatments that are continually assessed and improved for quality
  • emphasis on individualized addiction treatment—patients are not treated like numbers
  • effectively trained and credentialed personnel who undergo continuing education and training on a regular basis
  • emphasis on customer satisfaction
  • access to the latest evidence-based treatment options
  • the peace of mind of knowing that the facility must meet and continue to meet a rigorous list of standards to continue to hold the accreditation

You will also find that accredited facilities tend to offer the most pleasant and relaxing surroundings for people who are in recovery. Oftentimes, these facilities employ a whole-person, or holistic, approach to addiction treatment, which recognizes the fact that physical dependency is just one aspect of addiction and that many other factors often contribute and must be addressed.

Accredited Treatment is the Right Choice

In light of Google’s recent move to address shady, fly-by-night rehab facilities by refusing to display their ads in search results, it is more important than ever to perform your due diligence when seeking addiction treatment. While the search engine’s efforts are a step in the right direction, there are still many pitfalls to watch out for. One of the best ways to sidestep the worst of them is by sticking with facilities that possess accreditation from dependable and reputable accreditation bodies.

Desert Cove Recovery is accredited by The Joint Commission, so you can be rest assured you are receiving quality care from start to finish. Contact us to learn more about our programs and take the first step on your road to sobriety. 

Arizona Rehabs Discuss the History of Opioid Addiction

Arizona Rehabs Discuss the History of Opioid Addiction

There’s no doubt that our country is in the throws of a crisis. How did opioid addiction begin? Let’s take a look at the history of opioid addiction and how Arizona rehabs are trying to help.

There is reliable evidence of opium use as far back as 3,400 B.C. The opium poppy was called “joy plant,” and it spread from Mesopotamia to Assyria, Egypt and the Mediterranean. In 460 B.C., Hippocrates acknowledged its usefulness. Alexander the Great introduced it to Persia and India, and Arab traders took it to China. The Opium Wars were fought in China from 1839 to 1860.

Opium’s power to alleviate pain has resulted in thousands of years of abuse. In modern history, famous opiate users who battled addiction include Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Florence Nightingale, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and River Phoenix.

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History of Opioid Addiction arizona rehabs

The History of Opioid Addiction in the U.S.

Opiates are an unfortunate part of American history. With the advent of synthetic opioids, the problem only got worse:

  • The armies on both sides of the American Revolutionary War gave wounded soldiers opium. In his final years, Benjamin Franklin took it for a painful bladder stone that had tormented him for years.
  • Morphine was first isolated in 1803, and Merck & Co. took over commercial production in 1827.
  • Morphine and other opiates were widely used by the time of the Civil War. An alarming number of veterans were hopelessly hooked following the conflict.
  • Heroin was first made from morphine in 1874. As a cough suppressant, it was hailed as a wonder drug. Bayer Corp. launched it commercially in 1898. Heroin increased in popularity when users discovered that injecting the drug enhanced its effects.
  • Doctors were alarmed by climbing rates of drug addiction in the early 1920s. Heroin was made illegal in 1924.
  • World War II gave rise to nerve block clinics; anesthesiologists administered injections to treat pain without surgery. The clinics operated during the ‘50s and ‘60s.
  • President Gerald Ford set up a task force to study drug addiction in the 1970s. The focus shifted from marijuana and cocaine trafficking to the heroin epidemic.
  • Painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin were already becoming a problem by the late ‘70s. Many doctors were reluctant to prescribe them.

Dr. Hershel Jick of Boston University School of Medicine disagreed there was a problem. After analyzing almost 12,000 patients who’d been treated with narcotics, Jick concluded that addiction to opioids was rare in patients with no history of substance abuse. A pain-management specialist, Dr. Russell Portenoy, studied 38 patients six years later and also declared that opioid maintenance therapy was safe.

The two studies sparked a discussion that lasted into the early 1990s. Pain management became a priority for patients.

  • Every year in the early 1990s, the number of prescriptions for painkillers increased by 2 to 3 million. Then, from 1995 to 1996, the one-year increase was 8 million.
  • Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin in 1996. One year later, prescriptions of all opioid painkillers on the market increased by 11 million.
  • The Joint Commission is a nonprofit group that accredits medical facilities. In 2000, as part of doctors’ required continuing education, the commission published a book that cited studies in which there was “no evidence that addiction is a significant issue when persons are given opioids for pain control.” It expressed the opinion that doctors’ concerns about addiction were “inaccurate and exaggerated.”

The book was sponsored by Purdue Pharma.

Dr. David W. Baker with the Joint Commission later remarked, “There is no doubt that the widely held belief that short-term use of opioids had low risk of addiction was an important contributor to inappropriate prescribing patterns for opioids and the subsequent opioid epidemic.”

  • Purdue Pharma was charged in 2007 with misbranding and downplaying OxyContin’s high potential for addiction. Three executives pleaded guilty, and Purdue settled with the government for $635 million.
  • In 2010, the manufacturers of OxyContin released a new formula that contained an abuse deterrent. It was supposed to be more difficult to crush, inject or snort the product. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 24 percent of abusers reported being able to get around the tamper-resistant measures.  One participant in the study said that most former OxyContin users had switched to heroin. It was cheaper and easier to get.
  • Portenoy, one of the doctors who insisted in the 1980s that opioid therapy was safe, later said, “Clearly if I had an inkling of what I know now then, I wouldn’t have spoken in the way that I spoke. It was clearly the wrong thing to do.”
  • In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began taking steps to address the opioid crisis.

As of 2018, several states, including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, have sued pharmaceutical companies for their role in the epidemic. Cities that have sued include Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis and Seattle.

How Arizona Rehabs Can Help

The history of opioid addiction is a grim one. Substance abuse is a serious brain disease that affects people with all different backgrounds.

Getting clean for good requires professional help. Like many other Arizona rehabs, we at Discovery Cove Recovery are committed to helping people like you reclaim their lives. Call today to speak to an experienced, caring staff member.

End the Opioid Crisis, Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

How to End the Opioid Crisis, Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

How to End the Opioid Crisis – Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

According to the CDC, more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States in 2015. Every year, the steadily worsening opioid epidemic poses an economic burden of more than $78.5 billion, which includes costs that are associated with criminal justice activity, health care, addiction treatment and lost productivity. Oftentimes it feels like little or nothing is being done about it. However, many people have ideas about how to end the opioid crisis. The question is which of these proposed solutions will actually put a dent in the problem. Desert Cove Recovery, opioid addiction treatment in Arizona, takes a look at how to end the opioid crisis.

How Did We Get To the Opioid Crisis?

Starting around the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies looking to peddle opioid painkillers assured the medical community that they wouldn’t lead to widespread addiction. We now know how wrong they were, of course; in no time, as opioids flooded the market, they became increasingly diverted away from people who were legally prescribed them, and misuse became rampant and widespread. When efforts were made to curb their availability, many people simply switched over to illegal drugs like heroin. In 2018, an average of 115 people die from an opioid overdose in this country every day. Read on to learn about some of the ideas for putting an end to the opioid crisis.
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Education about Addiction

Turning a blind eye to a problem is a surefire way to cause it spiral even more out of control, so education could very well be the key to curbing the opioid crisis. The primary goal of education would be to limit the spread of the epidemic by raising awareness about the risks of using opioids. This education should extend beyond the general public to be directed at physicians as well. Many doctors, for example, could benefit enormously from learning more about safely prescribing such medications.

Prescription Opioid Medication

People who aren’t informed about the issue often scoff at the notion of prescribing yet more medication to someone who is coping with an opioid addiction. However, medication-assisted treatment has been shown to be very effective for helping addicts to achieve long-term sobriety from these highly addictive substances. Sometimes referred to as replacement or maintenance therapy treatment, the use of medications like methadone and buprenorophine has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse, which tends to be quite common among those who quit “cold turkey.”

Early Intervention for Opioid Addiction

Another potential key to ending this ongoing crisis is to find help for people as early in the addiction cycle as possible. The sooner people seek treatment, the easier and more effective their results tend to be. A huge part of this will depend on education and raising awareness. If society at large starts being more open about the signs of opioid addiction, for example, it would be easier for people to recognize it in themselves—and they would be more likely to seek treatment sooner. It should also be noted that increasing the availability of medications like naloxone, which reverse overdoses, would also help enormously. Naloxone helps not only by saving lives but by potentially assisting those who have overdosed to seek treatment.

Accessible Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona Options

Even when a person realizes that they have an opioid addiction, it isn’t always very easy or obvious to know where to turn for help. Increasing the availability of accessible, holistic, evidence-based treatment would streamline the process of reaching out for help when needed. This also means cracking down on treatment facilities that do little or nothing to truly help people overcome addictions. For example, more facilities could be required to employ doctors who are certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Someone shouldn’t have such difficulty locating opioid addiction treatment Arizona or anywhere else.

End the Stigma of Opioid Addiction

Finally, perhaps the best way to turn the tide of the devastating opioid crisis would be to end the stigma that continues to shroud addiction. Although major strides have been made in that regard over the last few decades, there is still a lot of stigma attached to being open about having an addiction. This unfortunately makes it more difficult for people to seek treatment—or even to admit that they have a problem in the first place. Once again, education will play a major role in ending this stigma, so adding information about addiction to school curricula, for example, could be a step in the right direction.

In trying to put an end to the opioid crisis, it’s crucial not to overlook the most important thing of all: the addicts themselves. At the end of the day, the primary goal of this battle will continue to be getting help for those who need it. If you believe that you are addicted to opioids, it’s important to understand that help is available. Our opioid addiction treatment Arizona facility is here to help you take the first step, so give us a call today.

Friend struggling with addiction, drug rehab scottsdale

How to Support a Friend Struggling With Addiction & How Drug Rehab Scottsdale Can Help

How to Support a Friend Struggling With Addiction

If you have a friend who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and you want to help, following a proven plan will get you moving along the correct path. Substance addiction is a sensitive topic and makes some people uncomfortable, but you need to take action to protect your friend.

Inability to control substance addiction can lead to health problems, legal trouble and death. Using the wrong approach will make the problem even more difficult to handle, so you must exercise caution at each step.

Although your friend must make the final decision, you could be the motivating factor that gets them to change their ways and make better decisions in the future. Getting your friend into drug rehab Scottsdale should be your ultimate goal. You might even save a life.

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The Warning Signs of Addiction

Learning to spot the warning signs of addiction before you take action is important. Knowing the red flags makes you sure of your decision, allowing you to move forward with confidence. The biggest red flag is using the drug or drinking so much that doing so forces your friend to overlook essential obligations.

For example, your friend could fall behind on rent or other financial responsibilities. If your friend starts missing work or getting into legal trouble, take a closer look to get a clear picture of the problem with which you are dealing. In addition to looking for the other signs, keep an eye out for unexpected behavior or strange acquaintances with whom your friend does not normally interact.

Approach the Situation with an Open Mind

Seeing your friend go down this dark and unforgiving path can cause a range of emotions, but you must maintain a level head as you move forward. Fight the urge to be judgmental if you don’t want your friend to cut you off entirely. Be as calm and open-minded as possible if you would like to get a positive response when you first mention the topic. If your friend does not seem open to having the conversation, don’t push it because doing so can cause more harm than good. You can change the topic and approach the issue in the future to increase your odds of reaching a favorable outcome.

Tell Your Friend You Are Concerned

When your friend is open to talking with you about their addiction, let them know you are concerned about their well-being, and you should get a positive response. You don’t need to worry if you don’t know what to say during this step, because this issue is common.

Without being aggressive, encourage your friend to consider how their life might turn out if they continue on the path without getting the help they need. People who open up about addiction are not always looking for advice or feedback. Be willing to listen without interrupting when your friend decides to speak with you.

Don’t Enable Your Friend’s Addiction

When you help your friend overcome the challenges associated with addiction, don’t let yourself go too far. A thin line separates assisting from enabling, and you need to use caution if you don’t want to make the wrong choice. Although doing so will be hard for you, make your friend clean up the mess related to their addiction, and don’t lend them your money. Lending money and bailing your friend out of the problems caused by addiction only make it easier for them to make poor choices. You can be a little more flexible if your friend shows an honest and consistent effort to overcome addiction.

Seek a Drug Rehab Scottsdale

Nothing you do can ever replace the results of drug rehab Scottsdale. Getting your friend who is struggling into a treatment center can do wonders to break the chains of addiction and get your friend moving in the right direction. Our experts will learn about your friend’s unique needs and craft an approach that offers the highest odds of success. Our mission is to help our clients recover and reclaim control of their lives, and we look forward to working with you. If you have any questions or want to learn how you can begin, pick up your phone and call us right away.

clinical opiate withdrawal scale

What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

Everyone’s experience of addiction is different. Likewise, everyone’s path toward recovery is unique. When it comes to overcoming an addiction to opiates, seeking outside help is a must. For that help to be effective, a treatment plan that is tailored to suit the needs of the individual patient is essential. Rehab facilities have many tools at their disposal, and one of the best ones for assessing a patient’s opiate withdrawal symptoms and experiences is something called the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale. Read on to learn more about this useful tool and how it is used to help people overcome serious addictions.

The Basics

Often abbreviated simply as COWS, the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale is an 11-point scale that is used to rate common symptoms and signs of opiate withdrawal. Unlike the Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale, or SOWS, which is a self-reporting tool, it is designed to be administered by a clinician. Each of the 11 listed symptoms are given a score on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 representing the most severe manifestation of the symptom in question. The patient’s score is then tallied and used to determine a tailored opioid withdrawal treatment plan.

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Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale

Which Signs and Symptoms are Assessed on the Scale?

Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers alike have numerous tools at their disposal for helping patients to withdraw safely from opiates. In particular, medications like buprenorphine and suboxone are often prescribed to help manage the most severe and uncomfortable symptoms. In turn, patients are less likely to relapse due to severe discomfort. However, to be effective, these medications must be administered at strategic points in the withdrawal process. The COWS scale is the primary tool that clinicians use to determine not only which medications should be used but when they should be administered.

The 11 signs and symptoms that are assessed on the COWS scale are:

1. Resting pulse rate – The patient’s pulse is monitored regularly. A resting pulse of 80 or below is given a score of zero while a resting pulse of 120 or higher is given a score of five.

2. Gastrointestinal upset – Symptoms may range from none to multiple episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Sweating – This symptom may not be present at all. On the other end, sweat may be streaming from the face or body.

4. Tremors – Tremors may not be present, or they may be severe enough to interfere with a patient’s ability to speak or move.

5. Restlessness – On the COWS scale, this symptom may not be present at all. In the worst case, the patient may be unable to sit still for more than a few seconds at a time.

6. Yawning – No yawning may be happening at all, or it may be happening as frequently as several times per minute.

7. Pupil size – Pupils may be pin-sized when exposed to light, or they may be extremely dilated on the more severe end of the scale.

8. Irritability and anxiety – Someone experiencing opioid withdrawals may show no sign of anxiety or irritability at all, or they may be so anxious or irritable that they struggle to participate in the assessment.

9. Bone and joint aches – This symptom can range from very mild to so severe that the patient is constantly rubbing their joints and unable to sit still.

10. Gooseflesh skin – Skin may be smooth on one end of the scale or look like gooseflesh on the other.

11. Teary eyes and runny nose – These symptoms may be missing entirely, or the eyes and nose may run constantly on the more severe end of the scale.

Benefits of the COWS Scale

After assessing the patient for each of the 11 symptoms, their score is tallied to determine how severe their withdrawal is. A score of 5 to 12 represents mild withdrawal while a score of 36 or higher represents severe withdrawal. Clinicians may use other scales in conjunction with COWS to gain an even clearer understanding of a patient’s current state; the Buprenorphine Administration Scale, for example, is often used in conjunction with COWS to determine effective doses of that medication as well as when to administer it. With many medications, introducing them too early can have the opposite effect, which can lead to a longer and more difficult withdrawal period.

Are You Looking for Opiate Addiction Treatment?

If you are coping with an addiction to opiates and are ready to regain your freedom from substance abuse, it’s important to understand that help is absolutely vital—and it is readily available. Detoxing from the drug is the first step, and the right inpatient or outpatient treatment program will use the COWS scale or other proven tools to determine the best individualized plan for you. Once detoxing is over, you will be free to begin the real work of addiction recovery and to take the first steps toward a lifetime of sober living.

VR addiction treatment

Will VR Addiction Treatment Work? Will Arizona Rehabs Incorporate Into Treatment?

VR Addiction Treatment – Will Arizona Rehabs Incorporate Into Treatment?

As the opioid crisis in the United States continues to escalate, treatment options for addictions of all kinds are more available and varied than ever. Throughout the country, there are addiction treatment centers in most major metro areas, and new techniques and treatments are being developed all the time. Technology has naturally played a major role in the evolution of the treatment of addiction and substance abuse, and nowhere is that more evident than in the advent of VR addiction treatment. Indeed, virtual reality technology, which is mostly associated with immersive video games, is increasingly being used in addiction recovery. Read on to learn more about how Arizona rehabs are looking into VR for addiction treatment as a viable option.

What is VR Therapy?

Before delving into what VR therapy is all about, an important caveat: This technology is still in its infancy, and much more research is needed to determine its overall efficacy. With that being said, this type of therapy involves using virtual reality technology, which immerses users in eerily realistic virtual worlds, to address various aspects of addiction. Most commonly, the technology is used to expose people in recovery to triggers and stressors in safe, clinical environments. It is also being explored as a way of making therapy more immediately accessible to those who are at risk of relapse. Some researchers are even exploring the use of the technology as a form of pain control.

History of Virtual Reality for Therapy

Buzz about virtual reality technology has reached a fever pitch lately, so it’s easy to assume that its use in therapeutic and medical settings is fairly new. However, virtual reality has been explored as an option in addiction treatment for some time. During the 1990s, for example, a doctor at USC treated war veterans with PTSD using VR technology. Later, they branched out to treat conditions like depression and schizophrenia with the technology too.

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In the early 2000s, Dr. Patrick Bordnick of Tulane University’s School of Social Work examined the use of virtual reality technology in the treatment of nicotine addiction. His research proved that the technology could trigger cue reactivity in smokers. Cue reactivity is a form of learned response that involves reactions to certain drug-related stimuli, or cues. The fact that VR technology can do this is significant because it offers a way for patients to work on positive reactions to such stimuli in safe, therapeutic environments.

VR Addiction Treatment and Environmental Triggers

As anyone who is in recovery can tell you, even the strongest resolve in the world can be no match for certain triggers. For a smoker, for example, that morning cup of coffee can be enough to make them want to light up. One of the most exciting promises of VR technology when it comes to addiction treatment is its ability to allow people in recovery to “face their fears” virtually. VR technology has come so far that when using it, people really do feel like they are immersed in the virtual world, so their reactions are genuine.

In the studies of VR therapy’s effects on nicotine addiction, researchers found that the technology made a difference when used in tandem with nicotine replacement therapies. Now, researchers are exploring ways in which the technology might be used to treat addictions to opiates. In fact, some versions of this technology place users directly in “heroin caves,” where they are presented with many triggers and cues. The resulting cravings can then be worked through safely with clinicians. Should the person encounter such triggers in the real world, it is hoped, they will be better equipped to cope with them in a healthy way.

Can VR Therapy Be Used to Ward Off Relapse?

Relapse is a common and natural part of the recovery process for many. Naturally, anyone with clean time under their belt wants to avoid it, but willpower often isn’t enough. Support groups urge those in recovery to hit a meeting or to call their sponsor when urges arise, but it isn’t always easy or possible to do. The hope is that VR technology may be turned to by those in recovery for immediate help when the urge to use strikes.

Noah Robinson of Vanderbilt University has spearheaded research into this area of VR therapy. He believes that by making therapy as accessible as, say, heroin, addicts would stand a much better chance of working through triggers and cravings that may lead them into relapse. The doctor has stated that the technology is akin to a “scalable intervention”—one that can be conducted by a single person and the appropriate VR technology.

The Accessibility Problem

To be sure, there is real promise in the use of VR addiction treatment, and the technology has progressed by leaps and bounds over the last handful of years. Even so, it is still a considerable investment for most people, so the odds of it becoming something that is used regularly in private homes any time soon are slim. More likely, the technology will begin finding its way into addiction treatment centers and Arizona rehabs, where it may be used in conjunction with proven therapies and treatments.

Will VR Therapy Ever Replace Traditional Treatment Options?

Some people believe that we will all exist mostly in a virtual realm someday. For now, though, we are all stuck in the real world—and VR therapy alone isn’t enough to ensure long-term sobriety. As exciting as the technology may be, traditional addiction treatment options are and will continue to be an integral part of any recovery. Many Arizona rehabs are available to help, including Desert Cove Recovery, so take the first step today.